Introducing the Corsair Carbide 500R

Corsair seems to have completed their case lineup with their latest addition, the Carbide 500R. Though currently made available in black, this enthusiast-geared enclosure was originally advertised in its attractive pearl white coloring, and that's the model we have on hand today. Does this powered up Carbide 400R have what it takes to make it as a compelling alternative to not just its cheaper sibling, but also to Corsair's Graphite 600T and 650D as well as the other enclosures around the $139 price point?

While the MSRPs of the 500R, 600T, and 650D show stratification (and a visit to NewEgg confirms this), things get a little muddy when you start bargain hunting. While you can get the 500R for $139 ($125 after rebate as of the time of this writing), the cheapest I could find the 600T for was about the same price and usually around $160, hanging out in the same neighborhood as the Obsidian. That clusters these three enclosures against each other and while it's not as goofy as the sub-$100 graphics card market, it does make you wonder a little bit about why Corsair shot so high with the 500R.

That said, there are definitely differences. The Graphite 600T is a fine case but an odd bird in Corsair's lineup with no siblings, while the 650D is essentially the love child of the 600T and Obsidian 700D/800D enclosures. And while the 600T on up are all designed largely with acoustics in mind (and all use negative air pressure designs), the Carbide enclosures are a bit more open, with more fans, more fan mounts, and positive air pressure. Theoretically, acoustics suffer while thermal performance should improve. It's a trade-off end users often have to make in the sub-$200 case market.

Corsair Carbide 500R Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor ATX, Micro ATX
Drive Bays External 4x 5.25"
Internal 6x 3.5"/2.5"
Cooling Front 2x 120mm intake fan
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan (supports 140mm)
Top 2x 120mm fan mounts
Side 1x 200mm intake fan (supports up to 2x 120/140mm fans)
Bottom 1x 120/140mm fan mount
Expansion Slots 8
Front I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, mic and headphone jacks, 6-pin FireWire, LED and three-step fan controls
Top I/O Port -
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 11.5" with drive cage/17" without (Expansion Cards), 180mm (CPU HSF), 300mm without bottom fan/170mm with (PSU)
Weight 16.6 lbs. (7.53 kg)
Dimensions 20.5" x 8.1" x 20" (521mm x 205.8mm x 508mm)
Price $139

The fan controls are going to be familiar to people who've seen the Obsidian 650D, but the internals are all Carbide series, with a tremendous amount of cooling expansion available. End users willing to put in the time to fine tune the cooling are probably going to be well rewarded, but the configuration Corsair ships the 500R with isn't half bad either.

In and Around the Corsair Carbide 500R
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  • CloudFire - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    no one's going to convince you... once you have worked with corsair cases, then you will know. i came from an antec900, and my 600t is beyond 2.5x better. atrocious is an understatement for the antec series, in terms of cable management and management for everything else for that matter. in the corsair cases, cables are virtually gone from sight, you are only left with the cleanest build you will ever witness.
  • Wardrop - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    Does anyone put performance over a case over aesthetics? I'd never buy a case just because it performed well. For me, aesthetics are 90% of what I look for in a case.
  • surt - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    I certainly do. Function #1, Noise #2, Heat #3, Aesthetics ... not even #4.
  • justben314 - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    Any thoughts on if an 11 inch card would fit equally as well as the ZOTAC at 10.5 inches? How close to 11.5 inches is getting too close?
  • danjw - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    Corsair's website states that this case has "Six 120mm/140mm fan mounts" and "Four 120mm fan mounts". You only list 4 140mm mounts, where are the other 2?
  • justben314 - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    The top 2 mounts support 120mm or 140mm. I believe that is the omission.

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